Here is Some Legitimate Science on Pregnancy and Rape

By Kate Clancy

August 20, 2012

Prof. Kate Clancy regularly contributes blog articles to Scientific American in her column “Context and Variation.”

(A warning to readers: this August 20 blog discussion concerns violence against women and graphic mention of miscarriage).

So Congressperson Todd Akin of Missouri has said some interesting things. Referring to the possibility of pregnancy after rape, and whether abortion should be allowed in this circumstance, he said according to his understanding “if it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down,” but that, should one embryo slip through, that “the punishment should be on the rapist, and not attacking the child.” In Akin’s non-apology about his insensitivity towards the “thousands” of rape survivors each year, he remains firm on the point that abortion shouldn’t be allowable for pregnant victims, saying “…I believe deeply in the protection of all life and I do not believe that harming another innocent victim is the right course of action.”

I don’t like writing about rape. I didn’t like turning my Laser Beam Eyes of Ladybusiness Justice on my Twitter feed today, which was a constant stream of information, reaction to, and anger about Akin and his baseless, stupid comments. Rape reminds me of the ways in which I am powerless, simply by being female. It doesn’t matter how many contact sports I play or muscles I build. It doesn’t matter how big my husband is. Sometimes I look at my life, and see what I’ve built, and how I’ve tried to protect myself. And I wonder what measures other women have taken for the same reasons, measures that ultimately mean little in the face of cultural conditioning to make men happy, of sexual dimorphism in musculature, of a powerful rape culture.

Read Prof. Clancy’s full blog article here.

 

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